Setting up good habits for the school...

Setting up good habits for the school year

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By Maryam Sheikh

And just like that, it’s September! Summer seems like it flew by, like it always does. Settling back into a routine for the fall can be both exciting and daunting. For many, school and university have returned entirely in-person – something we have not been used to for a few years. In reflecting on my first couple of weeks back, here’s some advice on setting up good habits for the school year.

I have realized over the years that motivation, unfortunately, is not the only tool you can rely on to propel yourself to success. Life throws many obstacles your way – oftentimes you may find yourself unmotivated to complete your work, take care of yourself, and find time for hobbies and friends. This is where a little bit of self-discipline will go a long way.

Rest and preparation are key. In order to perform at your best, it’s crucial to prioritize getting enough, good-quality sleep. This looks like scheduling your day so that you slowly unwind and prepare to rest. For example, you can incorporate some tasks that require low effort such as reading, journaling, or meditating in the last hour before bed. This is also a good time to get rid of distractions such as your cell phone or laptop. This can help calm your mind down, mentally prepare for tomorrow, and focus on some alone time before the next day. Investing in your sleep will ensure that you are attentive and present throughout the day.

Rest shouldn’t turn to stress once your alarm goes off. If you find yourself rushing or stressing out in the morning, this is also a great time to create a to-do list for the next day, set out your clothes, and pack a lunch. This will ensure that you can start your next day calmly, taking time to eat well before heading out.

Preparation also applies to other tasks, such as schoolwork, chores, or other responsibilities. By intentionally dedicating time to these duties in advance, you can chunk your work into sections. During this time, focus exclusively on getting those tasks completed; this will help curb procrastination, reduce stress, and ensure that you can still prioritize your hobbies and social life without falling behind. Remember to set aside time daily to develop your passions and hobbies. I, for example, use my commute to unwind by listening to a podcast or reading a book. This habit can help anchor you yourself during the day, especially when life gets busy.

Start small, then build up. If you try to build too many new habits at once, you might feel overwhelmed and drop them all. Instead, focus on incorporating one or two habits at a time. See how you can adjust your schedule to accommodate them and reflect on the results. If you are unable to practice a habit for a day, don’t get discouraged! Pick up the next day and continue building a healthy routine for yourself.

Self-discipline can seem intimidating, but in the right way, it can become a tool to help you become a better version of yourself and set yourself for success mentally, physically, and emotionally. This school year, make a commitment to taking care of yourself through creating and sticking to healthy habits. To a great year ahead!

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